Weighing myself everyday quickly became obsessive and led to binge eating, doubting healthy choices, and hating my body.
The weigh everyday experiment
So I set myself the challenge in March to weigh everyday. I wanted see how much the numbers varied, and hopefully help more people realise that weight is not always the best measure of success when it comes to weight loss!
In 2009 I achieved my goal weight, having lost 7 stone. During my weight loss I would weigh just once a week (I think I was too scared to weigh everyday, and didn’t own a set of scales anyway). It was after getting to my ideal weight that I started to weigh everyday, but it made my life a misery. I would let that number dictate my mood, my diet and how I felt about my body.
Somewhere over the years I learned to not listen to them, and not to use them as a measure of how I am feeling. I have been 9 stone and miserable and weighed in at 11 stone and felt like an utter bad ass. But since becoming a personal trainer and weight loss coach, I have come to realise just how hung up so many people are on the number on the scales, rather than everything else that tells them what they are doing is working.
I set off on this weigh everyday scales experiment fully expecting the numbers to change day to day, and hoping I could put a few myths to bed on what effects our weight (and banish some of those little comforting lies we all tell ourselves when we hop on the scales). What has most surprised me is how much weighing myself everyday affected me, the way I viewed my diet, and my body.
First weigh in was 5.30am on Tuesday 1st March. I weighed in at 10st 9.5lbs. I have a rough healthy weight range for myself which is between 10.7lbs and 11stone. So this was nicely at the lower side of middle, and a pleasant surprise after an indulgent weekend.
Scales myth number 1. I hit the gym, and when I got back home I thought I would weigh again to see what difference it made. I was up 2.5lbs. Slight surprise, I had a good sweaty workout, so I thought I might have been less, or the same.
Scales myth number 2. Mid afternoon I need a ‘bathroom break’ for number 2’s (sorry TMI but its in the name of research). I weigh in again, and I am up another 2lbs taking me to 11stone- the top of my healthy weight range. Oh dear, panic starts to creep in, I can’t understand why and suddenly I am questioning the way I look.
Over the last few weeks I have had a few photoshoots, and in prep of them I had been pretty mindful- so I was feeling really good about my body. So a week ago I felt a million dollars, how can I be questioning myself so much now? Can I have gained that much in a week? Well I have gained 4.5lbs in less than 12 hours, so anything seems possible.
I put on something light and loose and set off to my Weight Watchers meeting dreading a final weigh in later. I always have a snack before my WW meeting as otherwise I don’t get to eat until late and there is nothing more ironic than going to lead a Weigh Watchers meeting then getting home and shovling biscuits in my face.
Scales myth number 3. I decide to weigh in on the WW scales to see if they are any different. I almost dont want to look, I mean I was 11stone before eating. To my utter surprise I am 10.13lbs, apparently 1lb down in about an hour. Releaved its not even higher, but gobsmacked to see its come down!
I go to bed that night and find its lingering on my brain. In all honestly its been lingering on my brain all day. There was no logic or reasoning to any of the weigh ins. I am at the higher end of personal weight range and not sure why. I realise I am actually dreading weighing tomorrow and start doubting if I have made a mistake doing this.
I weigh in first thing again, 10.11lbs, down 2lbs from the final weigh in the night before, but up 1.5lbs from the morning before. I gained 4.5lbs yesterday- so I am at this point dreading weighing in later and seeing it over my personal healthy weight range.
I obsess about it all day, questioning it, and being very conscious of my food choices. I find myself looking at my ass in every mirror and paying very close attention to how tight my jeans feel. Throughout the day the number creeps up, and every time it does I hate myself a little bit. I can’t decide if I hate the number, or myself for caring.
I top the scales at 11.1lbs just before bed on Wednesday. I feel miserable. Then I hit the biscuit tin. I am not even sure how or why weighing myself lead to the biscuit tin, but I found myself wrist deep in biscuits wondering what else we had in to snaffle. I have had problems in the past with binge eating and alarm bells start to ring. By a miracle wave of willpower I stop, and take myself off to bed. It has been a long time since I absent minded found myself in the biscuit tin (note: not a long time since I ate biscuits, but a long time since I did it in this uncontrolled binging way). I wonder if I should stop now.
I try remember if this is how I used to feel, back when I did weigh myself everyday and let it worry me. It has consumed so much of my mental energy today, I feel drained.
The worst part is, that despite feeling pretty good in my jeans I cant help doubt myself; do I look bigger than I think I do? Have I developed some weird body complex where I have convinced myself I am fitter than I think I am. I often joke how according to the NHS charts I am ‘overweight’ (at 5ft 5″ I should apparently be no more than 10.10lbs). I put this down to high muscle mass, but am I fooling myself? Am I actually overweight?
Getting back my logic
I wake up Thursday and weigh in first thing- 10.10lbs!! Hang about a minute- I have literally done nothing. I weighed in just before bed, went and ate some biscuits, and woke up 5lbs lighter!!!! HOW??? HOW??? Logic starts to creep in. This is why I stopped listening to the scales years ago. Because they were never consistent, and they never did seem to correlate with how I was feeling about myself.
I have a breakfast meeting in Leeds and decide to do a spot of shopping whilst I am there. I recently got gifted some Sweaty Betty vouchers, and know there is a sale on, so think I decide to take advantage. I am always between a small and a medium in Sweaty Betty. I take in a mix of things and glad to see that plenty of smalls fit. I am even pretty impressed to see a little flash of abs whilst trying on a sports bra! Come on, who that is an unhealthy weight has abs! Screw what the scales say…I feel awesome!
I weigh in later that afternoon. After breakfast out, and two boiled eggs minutes before jumping on, I fully expect it to be high, but I no longer care. 10.11lbs- only up 1lb from my morning weigh in. WTF? OK, my respect for this mechanical gadget is officially void again. I am going off how I feel (and look) in my funky new leggings.
Trying to find the logic of the scales
I carry on my experiment to weigh everyday, but it almost becomes a comical game trying to guess what the number will be. I had a bigger dinner last night- I must be near 11stone…wrong! I spent a whole day trying to drink loads of water; will it make a massive difference? Not really. I can find no logic to anything. The heaviest I weigh in over the week is 11 st.02lbs. I flinch a little, but quickly brush it off.
My most impressive overnight loss (literally doing nothing just weigh before bed and weigh first thing) was a whopping 6lbs!! Yes overnight I lost 6lbs. I also at one point go for what must have been a mighty wee, as I lost 2lbs just having a wee! Weighed minutes apart, nothing different but having a wee (admittedly I had 2 coffees and held it a while).
Fall at the last minute
Over the weekend I enjoyed a few higher calorie/ higher fat/ higher sugar foods, but I made good choices and I was proud of myself for staying in control. I asked that my afternoon tea only had brown bread and no butter, plus I left a few cakes and skipped all the pastries (not bothered for pastry). I have a glass of red wine with dinner Sunday but refuse a second. I got to bed Sunday feeling pretty positive.
I weigh before bed 11 stone bang on. Well that’s OK- it is Sunday night, and I have in the week lost 6lbs overnight. So I confidently weigh Monday morning, 10.12lbs down just 2lbs overnight. Doubt creeps in. I had decided that Tuesday morning would be my official ‘weight loss’ weigh in. This isn’t looking promising.
Considering I am consciously trying to lose weight this week I am slightly gutted to realise that at no point have I gone under my first weigh in at 10 stone 9.5lbs. I start to doubt my weekend choices. Maybe I shouldn’t have had afternoon tea at all and just ordered chicken. Maybe I shouldn’t have had french toast Sunday. I did try make it healthier, and we he had it as a brunch, so I didn’t eat again until my healthy roast chicken dinner. But maybe I should have had just oats instead.
All through my first session on Monday I can feel little doubts creeping in the back of my head. I find myself distracted, which is not fair to my lovely paying client. Almost as if she can read my mind she turns to me and says: how is your weigh everyday experiment going? Meakly I reply: it is interesting to say the least, I cant believe how much its got to me. She looks at me with a worry on her face I have never seen before in her, and says: I know I am not supposed to weigh all the time, but I was being really good last week and then Saturday morning I weighed myself and I was up 1.5lbs from the week before. I was gutted, I checked back through my whole week and can’t think why, could it be that I am not sleeping properly?
It’s like the words could have come out my own mouth. Then it hits me, the realisation why I am doing this. For women like this who work so hard, who have had amazing success, and still obsess over the scales. I turn to her and say; babe, it could be a million things, but whatever it is, it isn’t worth worrying yourself over. Stay focused, stay positive, and the results will come, sometimes the scales are just the last realise how awesome you are.
Continuing the weigh everyday experiment
So will I continue to weigh everyday? Well, I set off to do this weigh everyday experiment over the whole month of March, but there is a few things I realilsed much sooner than expected;
- The scales really are unpredictable little shit bags and should not be trusted
- Weighing yourself regularly can quickly become obsessive
- Far too much of sane women’s precious time is wasted on worrying about what they weigh
- Worrying about what you weigh is emotionally draining, and can quickly make you doubt yourself, your body or your food choices.
- Doubting yourself (or worst yet hating yourself) is the least effective way to lose weight. If you talk shit about yourself you will feel shit, and you will eat shit.
- Most the logic (or comforting lies) we tell ourselves when we are a little heavier than expected are probably not true- there is simply too many variables to take in to account. It may be the thing you are thinking, but it may be a hundred other things you haven’t thought off, second guessing will only drive you to mad with worry or annoyance
- Stay focused on all the other measures of success, they are much more important than any number on the scales
- Unless you are genuinely not emotionally effected by the number on the scales, then please do not weigh everyday.
Oh and if you are wondering… at my one week weight loss weigh in, I was…… 10 stone 9.5lbs… exactly where I started the week before. This week I will be focusing less time on worrying about my weight, and more time doing something to change it, and keep reminding myself: Awesome Isn’t Measured in Pounds
I am Jennie, former big girl turned personal trainer. I started set U free fitness based on my own difficulty experiences of losing weight, and then maintaining that weight loss in a safe and healthy way. If you want to start your own amazing journey to becoming a healthier, happier you, then get in touch, or check out the website for ways we can help.
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